Saturday, March 21, 2020

What Kingdom Love Looks Like

by Gregory A. Johnson
What Kingdom Love Looks Like, by Gregory A. Johnson

In Jesus' day, a scribe was a lawyer who specialized in the Mosaic Law. One day one of these scribes came to Jesus with a question: "'Which commandment is the most important of all?' Jesus answered, 'The most important is, "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." The second is this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." There is no other commandment greater than these.' And the scribe said to him, 'You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.' And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, 'You are not far from the kingdom of God.' And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions" (Mark 12:28-34).

Out of all the imperatives given to us in the Bible, including the Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20, Jesus wraps it all up into one commandment referred to as The Great Commandment—to love God with everything we have. That's it! That's the bottom line. Loving God is what it is all about. Loving God is what separates Christ-followers from mere church attendees. Loving God is what separates Christ-followers from the religionists of our day who are bound by denomination and church rules, regulations, and traditions.

Notice that in giving The Great Commandment of loving God, Jesus uses "Lord" three times, indicating that loving God with our whole being requires that we give Him Lordship of our life. Giving Him Lordship means doing what He says. Jesus at a later time said, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments" (John 14:15).

In The Great Commandment, Jesus specifically declares the unity of God—God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. "The Lord our God, the Lord is one." He is basically telling this expert in the Mosaic Law that if you are going to love the God of Moses, you will also be loving me (Jesus) because we are one.

Jesus gives a bonus commandment to go along with the first—to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. This imperative is the fruit of the first; if we do the first, the second will take place. If we love God, we will love our neighbor. Why? We will love our neighbor because God loves everyone. Always remember that God loves everyone so much, He acted (John 3:16). If we love God, we will love everyone, and when we see a need that we can meet, we will meet it. It may take a creative solution mixed with faith, but we will meet the need. This love was specifically spelled out by Jesus through both His words and His actions in the New Testament.

Jesus takes it a bit further with His followers and describes what this love will look like when He says: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34-35).

We are to love others as Jesus has loved us. That is what Kingdom love looks like.

Excerpted from the book, The Kingdom According to Jesus, by Gregory A. Johnson. Copyright ©  by Gregory A. Johnson. All rights reserved.

Know that you are loved,